Stacks on! Shrove Tuesday is upon us. Want to perfect your pancake game this year? We’ve got all the hot tips for creating your lightest, fluffiest pancakes yet! So stock up on the butter and maple syrup, it’s time to get flipping!
A key date on the Christian calendar, Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day) was traditionally marked as a day for using up excess food in the house ahead of Lent (the 40 days before Easter during which people would give up certain foods). Today, it’s celebrated by folks everywhere as the one day in the year devoted to everybody’s favourite treat: pancakes.
To get into the spirit of Pancake Day we’ve hunted down the secrets to perfecting the classic American breakfast-style hotcake. Ready to get flipping? Here’s how to keep your pancakes light, fluffy and golden.
There are several techniques to help bring out the fluffiness in your pancakes, but perhaps the best is the addition of a leavening (rising) agent such as baking powder. Baking powder causes the batter to aerate and expand, resulting in a lighter texture. Another technique is to separate your eggs and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add yolks to your wet ingredients and combine, before folding the beaten egg whites in at the last minute for some seriously cloud-like magic.
Over-mixing your batter is a one-way ticket to tough, rubbery pancakes, so when you’re at the stage of mixing wet ingredients with dry, try to do so with as little mixing as possible. Small lumps are fine, so don’t labour over getting the batter perfectly smooth or you’ll risk toughening up the mix. It also helps to let your batter rest before cooking. For super-smooth results, set batter aside for 15-30 minutes before cooking (or even in the fridge overnight).
It’s tempting to want to fry pancakes in butter or oil but most pancake pros will tell you they aren’t really the best option. Butter and oil will tend to form beads in a non-stick pan and make the heat from the pan uneven. For the best results, just use a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan (no oil, no butter) and marvel at the evenly browned perfection you achieve without the need for excess fat.
Getting your quantities and timing right is essential to getting your pancakes right, especially when you’re opting for the thick American-style hotcakes. For uniform size, use a soup ladle for your batter. Next, it’s super important not to cook your pancakes too fast (oops, burnt) or too slow (ugh, floppy). Low-medium heat is best, as hotcakes are so thick that they will take a little time to cook.
There are a few theories floating around about flipping when you see bubbles forming but from all the research we’ve done, a few things stand out as pretty clear. First, don’t just wait for bubbles to form on the top of your pancakes, wait until the bubbles pop and form holes that stay open on the surface of the pancake. If you see a bubble pop then fill in with more pancake batter, don’t flip, wait, it’s not quite ready. You want those holes to hold! Firm holes mean that it’s time to flip!
Need to stock up on your pancake essentials? Bananas and fresh berries are always a hit on pancakes, so head to De Maria’s Fruit & Veg for the freshest picks. For a range of continental jams and spreads visit Woodgrove Deli. For all your baking needs visit Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.